â€˜Freedom from all forms of violenceâ€™: Using Zimbabweâ€™s new Constitution to encourage rape law reform
The right to â€˜freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sourcesâ€™, enshrined in Zimbabweâ€™s new Constitution, could have a significant impact on efforts to end violence against women (VAW) in the country. The right is particularly relevant in the Zimbabwean context where VAW occurs in a range of settings, from the most intimate of relationships in the home to the stateâ€™s use of rape as a political weapon. One way in which the state can fulfil its duty to address VAW is through the reform of the countryâ€™s rape law. With comparative reference to the impact of the right to freedom from violence in South African law, this article discusses three areas of Zimbabwean law that present potential obstacles to achieving justice for rape survivors: the definition of the rime of rape, the abolished but tenacious cautionary rule, and the sentencing of sexual offenders.
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